Happy Birthday to Who

On this day, November 23rd, back in 1963, the first episode of Doctor Who aired.

Happy 48th birthday, Doctor Who!

That was, of course, also the day after president John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I wonder how and whether the convergence of the two affected the memories of anyone who saw the show when it first aired.

Exactly how old the Doctor is is a topic of some debate, particularly between the fans and detractors of the new series. But how can one even talk about age in years when different planets will have different lengths of years, and there is no effective way to keep track of one’s age as a time traveler?


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  • C. S. Lewis died this day, too.

    Happy Who Day, anyway!

  • Chris

    But Who’s on first!

  • Holma1

    You mean Nov 22, 1963. JFK RIP.

  • Yes, you are of course right. I was thinking that the news might have broken in the UK on the following day, and ended up writing something else. I will fix the post…

  • Erp

    Aldous Huxley also died that day. 

  • On Nov 23, 1963 I celebrated my 10th birthday after crying all day the day before.  Mid-afternoon on the 22nd, in elementary school the principle dismisses class without reason.  We all run home, terrified thinking that Russia was launching atomic missiles!  Forget duck-and-cover!  Now, for Doctor Who, this wasn’t such bad timing for a cutting edge sci-fi show. 

  • Wow, thanks for sharing so many different converging contexts for that day!

  • I remember both momentous events, in the UK, hearing about Kennedy’s passing the evening before watching the debut of Who. I don’t remember any special connection in my eight-year-old mind, but perhaps that’s why my parents decided Who was too scary for me, which meant that I didn’t watch it again for some time.

  • Thanks for sharing that, Peter!